Gene Therapy Against Blindness Disease Undergoes First Clinical Trials
The first trial of gene therapy against the genetic disease X-linked Retinitis Piamentosa, the cause of the complete vision lost, has started this month, reported SingularityHub on March 3.
Gene therapy has been listed among 3 biohacking technologies to change our lives in 2020 by MIT Technology Review, that “means hope for people whose ailments were previously uncurable”, like Retinitis Piamentosa.
Research team led by Dr. Robert MacLaren at the University of Oxford reported that first patients have already experienced improvements in vision after the first injection of the generated drug, during this first “clinical trial for a degenerative eye disease”.
According to MacLaren even such preliminary results indicate that gene therapy is probably getting closer to reality already:
“It is becoming more apparent to us that novel genetic therapies, when working, lead to a clear improvement in neuronal function, which holds great hope for a variety of other degenerative conditions that have a genetic basis”
After publishing the results of the first trial, researchers plan to validate first results on a broader population.
As Future Time previously reported, this week researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have also presented a new type of artificial eye that combines light-sensing electronics with a neural network on a single chip with a capacity to preprocess data in nanoseconds, before sending it to the brain.